Yesterday I got sick. Harumph! I'm still sick, and just exhausted feeling. But I'm well enough to do some reading, and I've come across some great things in my readings that I'd like to share with you.
In the magazine, Saudi Aramco World, whose purpose is to increase cross-cultural understanding, I came across a review of two movies about Muslims who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. One movie, "Besa: The Promise," is about "countless Albanians, adhering to an ancient code of honor that bound them to shelter strangers in need, gave sanctuary to at least 2,500 Jews." These Albanians were all Muslims. The other movie, "Enemy of the Reich," is about a young Indian-Muslim woman who worked as a British spy inside Nazi-occupied land--she, too, risked (and lost) her life because her faith compelled her to help those who were suffering and dying.
Neither film is on Netflix, so I'm trying to figure out how to see them here in Sitka. Does anyone know how a person goes about hosting a screening? I'd like to host a screening for both movies, for the whole community here in Sitka. The stories of Muslims risking, and sometimes sacrificing, their lives in order to save Jews seems to me like important stories to be told right now.
On an entirely different note, the other thing I read that really got my attention was an article in The Atlantic Monthly titled "Rape Culture in the Alaskan Wilderness." According to the journalist writing the article, Sara Bernard, rape happens far more often in the Alaskan wilderness than it happens in the rest of the United States, and in some rural villages the rate of sexual assault or rape is 100%, which is to say that 100% of the women have been raped or assaulted, usually multiple times, often over decades.
The villages Bernard is writing about have no roads connecting them to the rest of the world (this is also the case in Sitka, where I now live, but Sitka is a huge town compared to the tiny villages Bernard is writing about), no police force, no social services (including a medical clinic to examine rape victims), and even no public safety officer or any civic authorities to report crime to. The Alaska State Patrol is the only authority to report to; in the area that Bernard was writing about there are 30 State Troopers to cover an area 4/5 the size of Texas. When a crime is reported (which is rare; most of the rapes go unreported), a Trooper has to get on an airplane to get to the village, which can take days--between weather conditions, shortage of troopers, and just the hugeness of the land.
I highly recommend reading the article. I don't recommend reading the comments. I don't have anything conclusive to say about the article, other than it seems really good to be aware of what is happening in the state where I am now living, a state I have often thought of as my home state.